With entries open for October’s inaugural International Performance Marketing Awards, this series looks back at the winners of the Awards’ UK ceremony in April, gathering insight into the mechanics and inspiration behind the industry’s newly-decorated campaigns and companies.

Today, we’re talking to Simon Piper from Rocket Fuel Inc. and Adam Vittozzi from Kaspersky Lab, this year’s winners of the Global Excellence award at the Performance Marketing Awards 2017.

First of all, let’s have a recap. Could you give us a quick overview of the campaign that won you the award?

Simon Piper: Over the last year, Kaspersky Lab and Rocket Fuel have built a truly global partnership, successfully delivering a data-driven, full-funnel programmatic strategy spanning over 100 countries. We smashed DR targets, delivered hundreds of thousands of sales and ran branding campaigns that drastically improved conversion rates across other traffic sources.

Tell us about why your campaign pushed boundaries within this specific category?

Adam Vittozzi: Between Rocket Fuel and Kaspersky, we were able to use AI [artificial intelligence] to deliver results globally, using a team a fraction of the size of what was previously possible. Something we are also proud of is how we were able to deliver results for smaller countries that would otherwise have way too small a footprint to use programmatic on a localised basis.   

How do you see this particular area developed within the last 12 months, and how did your campaign reflect this development?

AV: The fast evolution of digital across the globe, combined with accelerating automation in technology, is making global campaigns feasible. This is still relatively nascent as it is considered a contradiction to run global campaigns that capture local requirements. That said, like Rocket Fuel and Kaspersky, there are some visionary companies out there – as can be seen by the other global brand names shortlisted in this award category – that are embracing this challenge.

Tell us about why your client chose you for this campaign, and how the initial conception of the campaign came to fruition.

SP: Kaspersky ran a series of tests with multiple ad-buying technologies. The company selected Rocket Fuel because the initial results of using our moment scoring predictive marketing technology were strong. Equally as important in that decision is that we are able to deploy globally, flexibly and at scale.

If there is one particular part of the entire campaign that you believe your company has done better than anyone else, what would it be?

SP: Our predictive marketing platform uses AI to interpret thousands of data signals every time we have an opportunity to bid for an advert on behalf of Kaspersky. What this means for our client is a greater probability that we will reach the customer at the perfect moment when they are most likely to respond to an advert. Overall, we’ve placed well over a billion impressions on these campaigns in the last 12 months; with each and every bid fully considered and to six decimal places.

What was the hardest part of executing this campaign successfully?

AV: One of the most challenging aspects was executing successfully across more than 30 websites in over 20 languages. Internally we had to rip up the rule book when it comes to best practices, with everything from pixels to budget allocations for each global region working with teams from finance to product and operations across multiple continents.

Time to be honest; where do you feel your campaign fell short of the mark, whether you overcame those hurdles in the end or not…

SP: One thing that caught us by surprise was the customisation levels and back-end integrations required to allow all parties to get the level of detail from the data to ensure success. This is something we are making huge progress with but it has taken longer across the ecosystem of partners than we expected. That said, we are now in an even stronger position to deliver on campaigns across the decision-making process that add even more value than pure sales.

Finally, what for you is the most exciting trend or development in performance marketing right now?

SP: Without doubt, it is the rise of AI to AI integrations. The global partnership we recently announced with IBM is a great example. This two-way relationship allows Rocket Fuel’s moment scoring predictive technology and IBM Watson to work together and become smarter. This creates more personalised, relevant advertising for the end consumer, which ultimately leads to better results for brands.

Entries for the International Performance Marketing Awards close July 4. Download the entry pack for more insight into the regional and channel-based categories that could see you, and your overseas teams, crowned international performance champions.